Side Note: I have recently noticed that ninetyandnine.com is no longer a running site. This used to be a favorite site of mine that featured many wonderful articles. I had reposted this one to my FB a while back as for many years it has encouraged me. Upon ninetyandnine.com shutting down, I have decided to repost it here. I hope it encourages you as it does me.
Are You As Tired As I Am?
By Phillip Hampton
November 5, 1999
Sometimes I get tired. I love the Lord with all of my heart and I am trying to give Him 100% of my life, but sometimes I just get tired. At times, I get so caught up doing good things that I neglect to replenish my own source of strength and power from the ultimate Source of strength and power. I’ve heard some people call it “burnout”. For me, it’s just “being tired”.
Such was my state of mind one rare, free weekend in which I traveled to visit my family in my hometown. My family didn’t know it, but my visit was as much an attempt to escape the pressures of life as it was an opportunity to visit with them. The secular demands of running my own business (meeting client demands, working into the late hours of the night to finish a project), joined with my spiritual obligations (ministering in Sunday school every week, directing two choirs, leading worship services every Sunday, ministering in prison services, and just generally trying to be a nice guy), had begun to wear me down. I relished a weekend where I could ignore a ringing phone and attend a church service where I was responsible for absolutely nothing.
The weekend came and went as quickly as an afternoon thundershower. I could feel the dread building within my spirit as I contemplated returning to the rat race I had left behind just a short while ago. My last stop before returning home was to visit my beloved grandfather, who at the age of 90 has seen his physical health decline considerably over the past few years. My grandfather has and always will be the model of Christianity to me. In years gone by, he was an active Apostolic Christian who never missed a service, delivered an inspired lesson to his class every Sunday morning, visited the sick, was a soul-winner, and spent many hours doing the ‘extras’ that so many Christians today seem to forget.
So, thinking that I might be an encouragement to him, I bounded up the steps to the old house he has called home for over 50 years. As I settled onto the old sofa in the den that I can remember sleeping on as a child, Papa began peppering me with questions about my busy life back home: “How’s the church in Nashville doing?” “How’s your Sunday School class doing?” “Is it growing?”. As we settled into our familiar conversation about various aspects of the work of God, I noticed he became more passionate, animated, and emotional the longer we talked.
With a faraway look in his eyes, he began to recount his past experiences working for the Lord. I had heard many of the stories before, but somehow I didn’t mind hearing them again. He started in 1933 when he was asked to be the Sunday School superintendent of the church in which he was saved. Astoundingly, he could recall the precise average attendance for the Sunday school during that time. Papa continued with his timeline, stopping not to mark such great historical events as World War II, the beginning of the atomic age, or the first man on the moon, but his markers were simply experiences he had witnessed and people he had touched while working in the kingdom of God. It wasn’t the stuff of an action-packed missionary adventure, but it was real life and he had lived it and had wrung every ounce of goodness out of it.
As he got closer to the present, he talked more hesitantly and I could see that his well of experiences was beginning to run dry. Then, he stopped abruptly in mid-sentence. With tears flowing down his cheeks and his voice cracking with emotion, he looked at me and said, “I’d give anything to be active in the work of the Lord again.” I blurted out something that I thought would be encouraging to him and we talked on for a few more minutes before closing with the customary prayer.
As I got back in my car, set the cruise control, and headed back to Nashville and my busy life, my own tears began to flow. “Lord, give me the spirit of my grandfather,” I prayed, “Who, even after all these years of living, giving, and ministering, still has a passionate love and desire to work in Your kingdom”.
A still, small, familiar voice whispered back to me, “You’re not tired, son. You’re just now getting started.”
© Phillip Hampton, 1999